I’ve always loved the Sabbath. My earliest memories were asking my parents each Saturday “who are we having over for lunch?” knowing I had a great spread of food and some guaranteed play buddies all afternoon. But when my secular tertiary studies started requiring Saturday attendance, I was forced to think a little deeper about what I held important.
For those of us who grew up in the Church, the Sabbath is something we have always heard about and practised. But as we get older and take ownership of our faith, we question the WHY behind our traditions.
In a Church so often distracted by rules, we can easily forget the true purpose of Sabbath. Yet as we practise and learn from Jesus’ example, we discover that the Sabbath really is a gift to man; ultimately revealing to us that God is love, and He teaches us to love.
This connection between LOVE and the SABBATH was an awesome realisation I made when I chose the Sabbath as a topic to write about for one of my theology essays.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
God is love; and the Sabbath reflects His love for us in patience, kindness, equality, honour, selflessness, calm, forgiveness, joy, protection, trust, hope and perseverance.
1. The Sabbath teaches us patience as we slow down and put on hold our daily urgencies.
2. Jesus displayed the importance of kindness over the emphasis of rules by healing on the Sabbath.
3. The Sabbath denies the possibility for envy, boasting or pride, as we all partake in this law equally.
4. God demands our attention on the Sabbath to honour Him in our priorities.
5. In a self-seeking culture, the Sabbath shifts our perspective away from ourselves toward God.
6. Setting aside time with God shifts our perspective as we grow accustomed to the stillness of the Sabbath, instilling in us a peace that is not easily angered.
7. God keeps no record of wrongs, and the act of Sabbath obedience displays our freedom in God’s forgiveness.
8. The freedom that Sabbath brings provokes us to rejoice in the truth of God’s love.
9. God protects and cares for our health through the physical rest of the Sabbath while also providing spiritual rest through the reminder of our protection from the consequences of sin.
10. The Sabbath teaches us to trust and rely on God for our finances, productivity and guidance.
11. As the Sabbath points toward redemption, our souls are renewed with the hope we hold in salvation.
12. The rest that a weekly Sabbath provides allows for restoration, building within us a spirit of perseverance.
When we look at how God introduced the Sabbath after Creation and how Jesus observed the Sabbath on Earth, it becomes clear that the Sabbath “law” is a celebration and a blessing so much more than a rigid rule.
Embrace the Sabbath for what God has intended it to be. God does not give commands to make our lives more difficult so we can say “look God, see how I diligently suffered for you”, but rather to enhance our wellbeing.
Dive into the process of understanding God’s love and seek ways to pour out that love to show the world a love so strong that they spend eternity searching for its source.
Jess Laws is a graduate diploma of theology student, youth pastor and chaplain in Sydney, NSW.